Today we’re gonna discuss the very interesting process that takes place when a musician has to go through a photoshoot, because believe it or not, we are the HARDEST people to work with in the photography field. However, there’s things you can do to prevent misunderstandings and poorly edited photos AND get a bang for your buck. Here we go.
5. Make sure the photographer has previous portrait experience
As an upcoming artist, there’s literally only ONE thing as equally important as your music: your face. Your fans need to feel a connection to you, and that happens by syncing the audio with the video, the music with the image. Look at album covers from A listers and you will notice a very HIGH emphasis on the FACE. Not the body or the legs, THE FACE! You need a photographer who is good at taking portrait shots. You don’t want to work with someone who is specialized in landscapes, architecture, or nudes first, and portraits second. No, no, no. Portrait photographer before anything else. Write that down.
4. Put down in writing the details of the shoot and have it signed by both parties
Contracts are usually just that: a piece of paper. However, there’s a certain degree of professionalism that comes with handing over a contract to be signed. It may not change anyone’s opinion of you BUT… subconsciously it will send the right message about your persona: you mean business. And if you’re hiring a professional photographer, chances are you’re about to pay anything between $300 to $3000 per shoot. That’s some serious money right there. Pay 50% in advance, and 50% when the final edited photos are handed over to you in their full uncompressed format. I happened to witness once a singer, in NYC, who had incredible shots done by a decent photographer but he only sent her the .JPG edited versions of the photos, not the originals, not the .RAW files, nor the .TIFF formats for printing. She could only use those shots for social media. Don’t be that girl.
3. Make a list of the specs you will need during the shoot
Meaning, you tell your photographer guy/girl in advance, that you’re gonna need: horizontal shots, vertical shots, face shots, body shots, half body shots, centered shots, uncentered shots. You’re gonna need the horizontal photos for timelines, covers, announcements, banners, channel backgrounds etc. The vertical shots will be used for editorial material, promo epk, main artist image, flyers, possibly artwork as well. Face shots – you already know. Body shots will be used for creating diversity in your online portfolio and brand image, also good for social media. Half body shots are a middle ground between full body shots and face only shots. They’re often needed for blog posts, articles, newspapers, magazines, etc. Centered shots (you’re clearly in the middle, solo) are a safe bet for any artist. Uncentered shots (you’re on the right side or left of the photo) are needed for timelines and album covers where there’s space needed for text. Also remember! you can NEVER have too many photos as an artist. Not a single serious, self-respecting publication will post the SAME photo as another media source. Meaning, if you hit up 2 bloggers, you will need to provide different photos to both of them. Otherwise you risk getting shelved as the artist who is not ready for a serious featured article.
2. Establish in advance the exact amount of hours that you’re willing to pay for AND use that to your advantage
Meaning you DO NOT go with just one outfit in your bag. You present yourself to that shoot with 3-4 entirely different outfits, from clothes, to shoes, accessories, makeup and hair, completely transform yourself during that ONE shoot. Reason being: you WILL need diverse pictures down the line because you WILL put out multiple songs and projects. So why pay for 4 different photoshoots when you can pay for 1 but get the results as if you did 4? I don’t recommend more than 4 outfits as you get burned out by posing continuously for hours on end and by the 4th you will be pretty exhausted AND that energy is noticeable. On the same note, get some dark chocolate in your bag and water. Snack on the chocolate and drink water during the shoot. Not too much as you will get a visually bigger gut, but you NEED the energy from the dark chocolate. Also a portable bluetooth speaker is very useful for when you start missing that spark in your eyes. Pump up music you love and give your everything for each outfit you change.
1. Make sure your photographer knows he’s dealing with a musician!
You might ask yourself: but what difference does that make? oh it DOES! A good photographer knows that an artist needs very clear face shots, a model needs focus on her poses and body, a businessman requires emphasis on his official demeanour, a bride prefers all the attention on the details (dress, hair, nails, makeup, gloves, jewelry, veil, shoes etc), and a clothing brand wants all the focus on the clothes, duh! As a musician, even if you have some futuristic boots and a drop-dead gorgeous silhouette, that is NOT what you want advertised in your shots. You want your EYES, EMOTIONS, EXPRESSIONS, FACE to be THE MAIN SUBJECT. So stick to simple outfits and put all emphasis on your face. You will thank me 2 years from now when you need to put together a press release and you’re drowning in instagram shots and then you remember you did that ONE shoot which focused on your face only, and you quickly pull the photos together and instantly look like a pro. As long as you didn’t drastically gain weight or suffered external, visual, physical damages, chances are, those clean shots can be used for as long as 5 years from the day of the shoot.
Article by Mariana Berdianu
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